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BittWare’s XUSP3S PCIe Network Card uses UltraScale FPGAs to support four 100 GbE or sixteen 25/10 GbE ports. More on the way

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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Earlier this week, BittWare announced the XUSP3S PCIe high-speed networking card, which is based on either a Xilinx Virtex UltraScale or Kintex UltraScale FPGA. (The card leverages pin compatibility among six different Xilinx UltraScale FPGAs to provide BittWare’s customers with a large number of system-level design and manufacturing choices.) These networking cards all sport four front-panel QSFP28 optical port cages, each capable of operating as a 100Gbps Ethernet link or as four 25Gbps Ethernet links. In addition, the card sports two 72-bit-wide, on-board DDR4 SDRAM banks (max capacity 16Gbytes per bank) and two 260-pin SODIMM memory sockets, each accommodating as much as 16Gbytes of 72-bit-wide DDR4 SDRAM. That's a total board SDRAM capacity of 64Gbytes. (Note: the Kintex UltraScale version of the board supports only one SODIMM socket.)


In addition to the high-speed networking ports, the on-board Xilinx UItraScale FPGA provides significant, user-programmable computational capability, which BittWare’s customers can use to develop a wide range of on-board, network-oriented tasks—including all forms of network processing, security applications, hardware acceleration, storage , broadcast, and signal intelligence—using the company’s own BittWorks II Toolkit and associated FPGA development kit. The BittWorks II tools provide a variety of features to allow developers to take full advantage of the FPGA capabilities on BittWare’s boards.


Here’s a block diagram of BittWare’s XUSP3S board:



BittWare XUSP3S PCIe Networking Card block diagram.jpg



BittWare XUSP3S PCIe High-Speed Networking Card Block Diagram



The BittWare press release announcing the XUSP3S Networking card quotes company President and CEO Jeffry Milrod as saying, “BittWare has been exclusively focused on high-end FPGA boards for over a decade, and until now we hadn’t had a single Xilinx-based offering. Xilinx UltraScale FPGAs were so compelling that we recognized that we had to change that.” OK, that’s stunningly frank in a corporate press release (thanks so much!), but the press release goes even further with the following specific and unprompted testimonial from Milrod:


“We have been amazed by the ease of bring-up, the stability, and the performance of these FPGAs. The transceivers are rock solid at 25Gbps, external memory interfaces easily achieved max speeds, power is as promised, and we are in full production. With surprising adoption in pre-production, the XUSP3S has already been a huge success and is a wonderful way to kick off our new Xilinx-based product line.”


Now I’ve been writing about the bulletproof nature of Xilinx’s high-speed SerDes ports for more than two years, ever since Xcell Daily first appeared on the Web. However, it’s one thing for me, the Xilinx corporate blogger to write it (even if it is true). It’s an entirely different thing to have a customer say it.


Now stuff like this is absolute catnip to a blogger so I headed straight to BittWare’s booth this week at SC15 in Austin, Texas to get more information. The first thing I did was grab the board and take a photo:



BittWare XUSP3S PCIe Networking Card.jpg



BittWare XUSP3S PCIe High-Speed Networking Card



Yes, it’s real. Yes, it’s shipping right now. No, the bits in the FPGA are not falling out just because the device is mounted upside down on the board.


I spoke to Bittware’s VP of Systems & Solutions Ron Huizen and SVP of Sales and Marketing Darren Taylor who happened to be at BittWare’s booth. Most of what they told me…well, I simply can’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say that multiple reasons drove BittWare’s decision to base this new, high-end, high-speed, high-performance networking card on Xilinx UltraScale All Programmable devices. It wasn’t just the bulletproof SerDes ports, although those certainly helped—a lot.


They absolutely backed up Jeffry Milrod’s description of BittWare’s experience with Xilinx UltraScale FPGAs. In addition, they told me that the XUSP3S high-speed networking card is BittWare’s first Xilinx-based board to be introduced in a very, very long time (I heard something about Virtex-II). I also heard that if you look carefully on BittWare’s Web site, you’ll find descriptions of two more high-performance BittWare networking boards, also based on Xilinx UltraScale devices, that are already in the works: the XUSPL4 Low-Profile PCIe Board with Dual QSFP and DDR4 SDRAM, again based on either a Xilinx Virtex UltraScale or Kintex UltraScale FPGA, and the XUSP3R 3/4-Length PCIe Board with 128 GBytes DDR4 SDRAM, based on a Xilinx Virtex UltraScale FPGA.


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